|Title||Fashion for the High Street: The Design and Making of Menswear in Leeds 1945-1980|
This study reveals the often overlooked but highly significant role of the Leeds multiple tailors in the history of British men’s clothing and fashion from the 1940s to 1980. Focusing on these particular companies, their mass production of men’s tailoring, and the ways these garments were consumed, makes an important contribution to a more complex understanding of men’s fashion and dress as well as the history of the Leeds tailoring industry in the post-war period. This thesis takes a dress historical approach which combines object study, oral history and personal accounts, company archives and trade literature to look at the design, production and consumption of the men’s tailoring made by the Leeds multiples. The use of object study and oral history has revealed details and meanings of suits that illuminate the richness and diversity of men’s experiences and relationships with mass produced and everyday clothing which is rare in the history of men’s dress. Four main themes are analysed by this thesis: the role of design and fashion within the Leeds multiple tailoring firms; masculinity and identity and the suit; masculine consumption; and mass produced and everyday men’s dress. These are explored through four chapters focusing on mass production, made-to-measure and design; visual identity, design and display in retail; men’s consumption of suits and tailoring through their lives; and the partnership between Hepworths and fashion designer Hardy Amies from the early 1960s. These themes are contextualised within the wider changes in men’s fashion in this period and demonstrate the variety of approaches taken by the Leeds multiple tailors to make and sell men’s suits for British high streets in the four decades after the Second World War.
|Keywords||Leeds; fashion; design; masculinity; tailoring; multiple tailors; Burton; Hepworths; Hardy Amies; menswear; retail|